Mountain Times: Merry Christmas to all |

Mountain Times: Merry Christmas to all

Norm and Alan Nicholls
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif/. and#8212; Despite snow, rain, sleet, power outages and a and#8220;dead for the momentand#8221; computer, here goes this weekand#8217;s column:

Merry Christmas from the Nicholls family to you and yours!

As I write (Sunday evening) it has changed from rain to snow once again (6,200 feet), and hopefully it will remain that way. The soggy snow makes for concrete like snow berms if you donand#8217;t get out and remove them quickly. It also creates legendary and#8220;Sierra Cementand#8221; which makes conditions difficult for many skiers and boarders and can lessen the fun.

This morning I was a bit upset with two berms in a matter of just over an hour. Then I went on an errand and came back to yet a third berm … and no power. I canand#8217;t figure out what the plow driver was doing staying in one vicinity of Tahoe Donner when there are well over 50 miles of roads in the subdivision to take care. Asleep at the wheel?

All kidding (and cursing) aside, I am sure that you will join me in thanking the many snow-removal experts who work such long hours to keep our roads and driveways passable. This current storm period seems to have no end to it, and I have nothing but respect for these dedicated drivers who are committed to keeping us mobile. And thank you to the families of these men and women who are not able to spend as much time with their families during this Christmas season as they might like.

If you get a chance, and if you can do it safely, I encourage you readers (both locals and visitors alike) to mouth the words and#8220;thank youand#8221; as the equipment operators come by your property and, if you get a chance (again when it is safe), a tip to the driver(s) would be in order. Donand#8217;t forget your garbage man and other service providers who also serve you during the year. Even a small amount shows your appreciation and is a very nice gesture.

Thank you to all of you who supported the many holiday activities and fundraisers, including Truckee Community Christmas, local churches and clubs who also offered support to families, seniors and others in need this Christmas season. Also thank you to all the groups of vocalists, musicians, and actors who put on various shows and concerts to entertain us during this very special season.

And lastly, thank you for supporting the Optimist Christmas Tree lot and the Troop 267 Boy Scout tree lot at Mountain Hardware. Both organizations have already sold all their trees and tens of thousands of dollars were raised to support the kids in the Truckee/Tahoe area.

Whatand#8217;s next for Squaw Valley? It will be extremely interesting to see what will take place at Squaw Valley over the next five years with the new owners, KSL Capital Partners, and their commitment of $50 million toward capital improvement plans.

I have already heard the moans from some diehard Squaw Valley loyalists and extreme skiers, that the introduction of more skiers to the mountain will somehow lessen what Squaw Valley is all about.

Admittedly, I am only a second-year pass holder at Squaw Valley, so many will say I really donand#8217;t know what I am talking about. But, let me continue, whether you think I am right or wrong.

Squaw Valley has a world class mountain … no ifs, ands, or buts about it. However, the infrastructure at the ski hill is aging and many of the old buildings and lifts need to be replaced and additional infrastructure added. Also a better effort of grooming more acreage would seem to be in order to enhance the experience for more skiers and boarders, regardless of ability. There is plenty of terrain that can remain and#8220;untouchedand#8221; for our regional fanatics.

Alta, Utah, was in a similar situation until about 10 years ago. The ownership interest there added some new high speed lifts, new day lodges, and enhanced the remaining facilities. These improvements opened up that world-class mountain to many more skiers. The extreme skiers still have more than enough extreme terrain away from the masses and it has become a win/win for everyone. It has also added another 6 to 8 more runs per day per person.

We all should be excited about what is ahead for Squaw.

Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate Group are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Road in Truckee.

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